A visit in Lawang Sewu, The Indonesian “House Of Thousand Doors”

Wars, suffering and blood shed fills the world’s history, and this is one of the reasons why many of the our planet’s older buildings have tragic histories that still mark them today. Lawang Sewu, in Semarang, the capital city of Central Java, saw some of the most devastating events in Indonesian history. The name itself means “a thousand doors” in the local language. However, this takes on slightly creepier undertones when you consider the building’s history. The name originally referred to its actual structure, even if It doesn’t actually have…

Read More

The Haserot Angel: the mysterious crying angel of Lakeview Cemetery – Ohio~

Lakeview Cemetery near Cleveland, Ohio, contains over 100,000 graves, including those of presidents and business moguls. President James A. Garfield rests here, as well as the American business magnate and philanthropist John Rockefeller and the Prohibition agent, famous for his efforts to bring down Al Capone, Elliot Ness. However, its most striking grave marker may be the unsettling statue known as Haserot’s Angel, a piece of art with permanent tears. Why would an angel cry? Haunting, yet beautiful, the Angel holds his quiet keep, revering the dead for 80 plus…

Read More

536 AD: the never-ending winter of the worst year in history

If you ask medieval historian Michael McCormick of the University of Harvard what year was the worst to be alive, and he’s got an answer. Not 1349, when the Black Death wiped out half of Europe, and not 1918, when “spanish” flu killed 50 million to 100 million people. It happened to everyone, sooner or later, to hope that a particularly difficult year will come to an end, hoping that the next one will reserve better days. But what was, objectively, the worst year in human history? It seems impossible…

Read More

Pyramidenkogel: the world’s tallest wooden observation tower.

In Carinthia, Austria, there is a mountain called Pyramidenkogel, reaching 851 metre above sea level. That’s not very tall compared to the real Alps, only about a quarter the size, but add the world’s tallest wooden tower to the top, and now you’ve got yourself a breathtaking view: from the Hohe Tauern in the north, to the picturesque lake valleys, to the neighbouring countries of Italy and Slovenia in the south. In German the mountain is called Pyramidenkogel, but in nearby Slovenia, a short 20 kilometers to the south, its…

Read More

Friedhof Der Namenlosen – Cemetery of the Nameless: a hidden gem for Danube’s victims

We are in Vienna. Many tourists who come to the Austrian capital visit the Zentralfriedhof, the Central Cemetery, which is the city’s largest and most popular cemetery, the final home of personalities such as Ludwig Van Beethoven, Johannes Brahms, Franz Schubert, Johan Strauss but also more modern celebrities like pop star Falco. However, among the 55 cemeteries in Vienna, one of the most touching and quaint is probably the Friedhof Der Namenlosen, the Cemetery of the Nameless. Suicide victims who turned away from a Catholic burial, bodies with no names…

Read More

Port Arthur Penal Colony – the Australian “prison of Silence”

Port Arthur is a small town and former convict settlement on the Tasman Peninsula, Australia. Port Arthur is one of most significant heritage areas of the country and now an open-air museum. The site forms part of the Australian Convict Sites, a World Heritage property consisting of 11 remnant penal sites originally built within the British Empire during the 18th and 19th centuries on fertile Australian coastal strips. Collectively, these sites, including Port Arthur, now represent, “…the best surviving examples of large-scale convict transportation and the colonial expansion of European…

Read More

Humberstone: A Chilean ghost town with an english name

Once a bustling mining and progressive town in the Atacama Desert, a few hundred kilometres from Chile’s borders with Peru and Bolivia, Humberstone has now become a disturbingly silent ghost town with no workers or residents on its streets. How did this happen? It was named after James Humberstone, a British chemical engineer who emigrated to South America in 1875. He made his fortune from saltpetre, which was dug out of caliche, the nitrate-rich crust of the desert, and used to make fertilizer. For a while in the late 19th…

Read More

12 rare Color Photographs show the First Nazi Concentration Camps in 1933

Nazi Germany maintained concentration camps throughout the territories it controlled before and during the Second World War. Killed in gas chambers, starved to death, killed during experiments or shot by the SS: the victims of the concentration camps were murdered in the most disparate ways, and the horror that swept across Europe began in 1933, immediately after Hitler became Chancellor and his Nazi Party was given control over the police through Reich Interior Minister Wilhelm Frick and Prussian Acting Interior Minister Hermann Göring. The first concentration camps, of which the…

Read More

The Snow Child: a black humor medieval folktale

In medieval France a few different type of story was told as an alternative to the fairy tales or the popular fables, know as “Fabliaux”, in French, with a simple and linear plot. Focusing mostly on tales of commoners, they often treated adulterous wives and husbands, and their purpose was to make the listeners laugh. Often anonymous, they were written by “jongleurs” (minstrels, medieval European entertainers in northeast France) between c. 1150 and 1400, and they are generally characterized by sexual and scatological obscenity, and by a set of contrary…

Read More

St. Ignatius Hospital: abandoned but not forgotten

St. Ignatius Hospital is a former manor hospital located in Colfax, Washington, United States, established in 1892 by the Sisters of Providence from Montreal, a religious institute of Roman Catholic sisters founded in 1843 by Mother Émilie Gamelin (beatified in 2001 by Pope John Paul II). The Hospital, the first to serve Whitman County, operated from 1893-1964 and during its early years, nurses treated patients in a wooden building on-site, as construction of the hospital wasn’t complete until 1894. Historically, the first patient was a pneumonia case, and in the…

Read More

The “Hidden Mothers”: macabre portraits of children in the Victorian era

In a technological age like the one in which we live, characterized by the constant sharing on every social networks of photos and selfies of ever-increasing quality, it is probably difficult to imagine how the world could have been at the origins of photography, in the Victorian age. And not the world of photography in general, or the post-mortem photography we have already talked about, but that of photography that depicted nineteenth-century English children. Have you ever had difficulties trying to get a baby to sit down and pose for…

Read More

A visit at the Cimetière des Chiens, the world’s oldest Pet Cemetery

The Cimetière des Chiens et Autres Animaux Domestiques, translated as the Cemetery of the Dogs and other Domestic Animals, in Asnières-sur-Seine, just outside of Paris, is the oldest pet cemetery in Europe, and perhaps in the world, depending on its definition of a “pet cemetery.” It claims to be the first pet cemetery in the world and even if there are some more ancient than it, it is the first to be basically a smaller version of our own modern cemeteries. Shrouded in decaying grandeur, it’s probably, according to a…

Read More

Stephansdom Crypt – Vienna

In Vienna city center, the dark and imposing St. Stephen’s Cathedral (Stephansdom in German) draws thousands of tourists to gaze at its imposing architecture. It is arguably Vienna’s No. 1 attraction all round, certainly a marvel of gothic architecture, and it’s truly ancient: work began in the 12th century and the present structure was completed in 1511 (even though the north tower was never finished) and, in addition, It is Austria’s largest and most significant religious building. However, there is something to be seen below as well: just beneath the…

Read More

Suicides at Bloomfield Hills – Michigan

Bloomfield Hills is a quiet city located in Metro Detroit’s northern suburbs in Oakland County in the U.S. state of Michigan, about 32.5 km northwest of downtown Detroit. As of the 2010 census, the city population was 3,869. Nothing strange, that’s true? However, it seems that Bloomfield Hills has an odd tale to tell. Trowbridge Road is less than a mile long. It goes through a very well-to-do neighborhood, but empties out at one quite eerie place: the Trowbridge Bridge, built in 1930 during the beginning of The Great Depression.…

Read More

Shipley Glen Tramway: a historic funicular tramway in England

We are in the wooded Shipley Glen, near the village of Saltaire in the English county of West Yorkshire. Originally built and operated as a way to ferry Victorian thrill seekers to and from an amusement park built at the top of a wooded valley, the tramway has served several generations in a variety of capacities. Opened on 18 May 1895 by Sam Wilson, a local publican, showman and entrepreneur, the tramway runs between Baildon and the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Saltaire, two villages at opposite ends of the…

Read More

The spectacular Neskowin Ghost Forest in Oregon

In the small coastal town of Neskowin in Tillamook County in Oregon, somewhere between Lincoln City and Pacific City lie the remains of an ancient forest, rising out of the sand and seawater. Dubbed the Neskowin Ghost Forest, they are an eerily beautiful memory of the towering Sitka spruce trees that stood here for some two millennia. For nearly 300 years the “phantom forest” strains remained hidden under the sand, resting until they were uncovered during the winter of 1997-1998, when the coast of Oregon was pummeled by powerful storms…

Read More

Shakespeare Ghost Town – New Mexico

This small New Mexico town has gone by many names, and only acquired its present one in 1879 at the beginning of its second mining boom. Old timers called it Mexican Springs, back when it served as a relay station on the Army Mail line, while for a few years after the Civil War it was called Grant. In 1870, some of the prospectors hanging around this little station discovered samples of very rich silver ore in the surrounding hills and they went hunting for financing to develop their new…

Read More

Edward Leedskalnin and the mysteries of Coral Castle

Coral Castle is one of the most visited places in Florida and is the most modern monolithic complex in the world, made with calcareous oolite. Commonly mistakenly believed to be made of coral, it is made with oolite, a sedimentary rock composed of small spherical grains of concentrically layered carbonate that may include localized concentrations of fossil shells and coral. Castle’s story is very interesting, still today shrouded in mystery. It all began in 1923 when Edward Leedskalnin, at the age of thirty-eight, moved to Florida in search of a…

Read More

Hampton Court Maze: the English maze that has been confusing visitors for over 300 years.

The Hampton Court hedge maze is the oldest surviving hedge maze in the United Kingdom. It is a multicursal maze, that baffle its visitors since the 17th century. Unlike a regular labyrinth, which is single-path or “unicursal,” in a maze like this, which is “multicursal”, a visitor must make decisions) baffling and delighting visitors since the 17th century. Even if it isn’t large as modern-day mazes, it still provides a challenge and, above all, it remains an important historical structure. The original design has since been modified due to gaps…

Read More

Joan of Leeds: the nun who faked her own death to escape convent

Being a nun and living in a convent is one that requires extreme commitment, particularly in the 14th century. For Joan of Leeds, a rather rebellious English nun at St. Clement’s Nunnery in York, a change in pursuits required extreme measures. In other words, the escape. Recently, the research project “The Northern Way” has been launched, a digital archive of the archbishops of York between 1304 and 1405, which allows historians to discover some fascinating stories, among which Joan’s fascinating backstory. What they found was a tale of intrigue and…

Read More

Cidade Albanoel: an abandoned Christmas Theme Park in Brazil

We are in Brazil. Driving to Rio de Janeiro, you might spot an eerie sight on the side of the road: an abandoned gang of Santas, surrounded by palm trees and greenery. If you look closely, you’ll see these Father Christmas clones aren’t alone, because there’s a sad looking sleigh and dilapidated reindeer nearby, but also faded candy canes, battered slides and an eerie house. This is the Park Albanoel, in Itaguaí, that was intended to be the largest theme attraction in all of country, but the death of its…

Read More

Cottingley’s Fairies: the pictures that tricked also Arthur Conan Doyle

There are fairies in the stream that runs through the village of Cottingley in West Yorkshire. It’s true, and there are pictures to prove it! The very popular Cottingley Fairies refers to five photographs taken by two schoolgirls between 1917 and 1920 near Cottingley Beck, England, close to a narrow stream. Elsie Wright (1901–1988) and Frances Griffiths (1907–1986), cousins living at Elsie’s house in the village, liked to play by the stream at the bottom of the garden, much to their mothers’ annoyance, because they frequently came back with wet…

Read More

Chloride, Arizona: a living Ghost Town~

Located just a short drive from the abandoned (and almost disappeared) town of Santa Claus, Chloride seems to resemble any kitschy Wild West village turned tourist trap. However, if you look a little deeper, you’ll find something that makes this ghost town stand out: a wonderfully unusual collection of junk art and a display of giant murals! The city is an old silver mining camp in Mohave County and the oldest continuously inhabited mining town in the state. Scientifically, chloride is an ion used to desalinate seawater into drinking water,…

Read More

The Lucifer of Liège – Belgium

Even though the original structure of St. Paul Cathédrale de Liège goes back to the 10th century, it’s been built over a few times, and today it is mostly comprised of 13th and 15th century architecture. It became a Roman Catholic cathedral in the 19th century due to the destruction of Saint Lambert Cathedral in 1795. The Liège revolutionaries considered it a symbol of the power of the Prince-Bishop. Thus, once the revolutionary mood had passed, another church had to be chosen to replace the destroyed cathedral and the collegiate…

Read More

The altered traffic signs of Edinburgh, Scotland

We are in Einburgh, Scotland. Scattered around the city center are a number of traffic signs that have been given new life through amusing graffiti stickers. A keen eye but not only may spot a sumo wrestler, a spilled glass of wine, or a cat, but are just a few of the nearly two dozen total altered traffic signs. They are the work of French artist Clet Abraham, 52, who hand-draws the designs, prints them onto sticker paper and goes out at night to place them. Clet first began placing…

Read More

Nellie Bly: the Journalist who let herself be interned in Asylum to save the patients

Elisabeth Cochran Seaman (1864-1922) is probably not a well-known name, although perhaps the pseudonym with which she signed her articles, Nellie Bly, is better known. She became popular all over the world in 1890, when she left on behalf of her newspaper, the New York World, for a world tour: she wanted to turn into reality the story of Julius Verne (Around the world in 80 days). It took her 72 days, almost always traveling alone, which was unusual for a woman of the time. However, before this adventure, Elisabeth…

Read More

Santa Claus: an abandoned theme town in the middle of the Arizona desert~

The Mojave desert, with its (very) hot summer sun, Joshua trees and rock formations, would not generally be the place one would choose to honor a man whose traditional home is the North Pole. Yet standing in the desert there is the ghost remnants of Santa Claus, Arizona! It all started in the early 1930s when Nina Talbot and her husband moved from Los Angeles, California, to nearby Kingman, Arizona, to operate a motel. Calling herself “the biggest real estate agent in California,” the name originated from Talbot’s girth (over…

Read More

Fengdu: the Chinese Ghost City

High on the Ming Hill, Fengdu, or the “City of Ghosts,” is situated at the northern end of the Yangtze River, China. It attracts tourists from all over the world, and even many visitors from within China as it is the place to learn about local ghost culture and the afterlife. Visitors to the area find that they are moved by the ancient craftsmen, the unique styles of architecture, and the nagging lesson that good is rewarded with good, and evil with evil. Having nearly two thousand years’ history, the…

Read More

The battle of Frangokastello -Crete- and the Drosoulites

We are in Greece: Frangokastello, located in the south west coast of Crete, is a beautiful Venetian castle that was built in 1371 as a garrison to impose order on the rebellious Sfakia region and to deter pirates. It is just another testament to the Venetians desire to impose their rule, as the castle was never used by them. The castle has a rectangular shape, with a tower at each corner and the remains of a Venetian coat of arms above the main gate. The buildings within the walls and…

Read More